Serious Heat: What's Your Secret Ingredient for Barbecue Sauce?

Serious Heat

Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, shares thoughts and observations from the fiery food world.


[Flickr: Pirate Johnny]

Mike Mills Apple City Barbecue Sauce

View the complete recipe here »

Memorial Day officially ushers in barbecue sauce season. I need a slow burn to my sauce—just enough for a building heat but not too much to overwhelm the barbecue flavor. When time is on my side, I absolutely adore making beloved pitmaster's Mike Mills' Apple City Barbecue Sauce. Mills, of Memphis in May fame, has a secret ingredient: bacon ground in a spice grinder that adds a delicious, porky dimension to the sauce.

I increase the cayenne powder for my version, and add smoked paprika too. Or, sometimes I add a puréed chipotle into the recipe. Either way, this adds a slight spiciness that combines with the tartness, sweetness and fruitiness for this barbecue sauce that can be topped on a burger, glazed on ribs or basted on chicken.

What's your secret ingredient for barbecue sauce?